Over the next week we'll be featuring some blog posts with our authors' thoughts on fathers, both real and fictional, in honor of Father's Day.
For our first feature, we're discussing our favorite fictional fathers in books they read. In our second, we're asking them about fathers they wrote. For our third and final feature, we asked authors to tell us how their fathers influenced their lives and their writing.
Dad was fond of telling us stories he made up as well as reading books to us as kids. And now I tell my own made up stories in the form of books. I will never be able to match Dad's amazing, punny wit. But I at least inherited a small amount of his quick sense of humor to include amazing and cheesy puns in some of my books!
A. J. Bakke
One of my earliest memories of my own father was him using a biro to go over poems I had written in pencil, so that they wouldn't fade and be lost. He wasn't a reader but he made me feel my words were precious and worth preserving and sharing.
I regret that Dad didn't get a chance to read any of my stories--well, at least no any of the publishable ones, not counting what I wrote in school, of course. But I'm sure that his patient style of parenting influenced every father I've written. Well, not the lesson about physical strength above; that was never one of my gifts. But the way the lesson was taught, yes.
I was homeschooled, and my dad was the one who taught me (and my siblings) to read, so I have him to thank for bringing a love of reading and, hence, writing into my life. Even now, although fantasy isn't his favorite genre, he reads my unpublished manuscripts twice, looking for spelling errors and typos, as a means of supporting me. In my opinion, he's the best dad ever!
My Dad is a huge blessing in my life and often finds his way into my stories. Mainly because he lives by faith, day by day, and even when life gets hard, I know that he'll be fighting the good fight. When I write male characters/dads, I always look back to my own Dad. He's strong, goofy, and a fighter. He's also a good teacher -- except when it comes to teaching me to drive. Which is weird, since he used to be a race car driver. I'm not THAT bad of a driver, dad, so stop yelling. Haha!
Not only has my Dad encouraged my writing since I was a little kid, he hasn't stopped now. Even when life has a ton of stresses, he takes time to listen to me ramble. I really like being able to tell him: "You're in my book, dad, and you're a hero in it, too."
My Dad was always my hero as well as a hero to many others, whose lives he saved in Vietnam when he was a chopper pilot. When he was first diagnosed with lung cancer, I knew I would need something to distract me while helping my Mom (first while he fought through two courses of chemo, and when chemo didn't work, so he could die at home on hospice). I dug out an old fantasy which never "worked" even after 3 total rewrites, threw the entire manuscript away except the opening scene, and just as a writing exercise asked the main characters to tell me their story. The story came alive because I allowed it to grow organically from the characters (before, I was forcing a plot upon them). I never intended to publish it, but my critique group urged me to do so. I dedicated Mercy's Prince to the memory of my Dad.
Katy Huth Jones
My daddy has been one of the greatest influences on my life and my writing, and continues to be. I've always loved telling stories and writing, but I was reluctant to choose "writing" as a career path because I worried that it would become something I hated if I "had" to do it. However, my dad — understanding my heart perhaps better than I did at the time — encouraged me with the words, "If you want to be a writer, you should be writing."
At that moment, I wasn't all that confident that I "wanted" to be a writer. But he followed that bit of advice up with a challenge to write 10 pages a day that summer. He said, "I want an adventure tale that I can read out loud to the family each night."
This was an overwhelming proposition, as the longest thing I'd ever written was a 23-page paper in high school and that took me several weeks to write! And I had my first full-time job starting up in a couple of days...
But then he added that he'd pay me a dollar per page and an extra $1,000 if I finished the book before I had to go back to school in the fall.
With a challenge and an incentive like that... who could resist?
It was that summer that I fell in love with writing and discovered that I enjoyed having a deadline, an audience, and yes, even critiques. My father and the rest of my family told me instantly what they liked, didn't like, wanted to see more of, and more! In many respects, they are responsible for the way the story turned out even more than I am!
My dad is still my first reader of anything new I write, and while I do not always implement his advice, many of his ideas resound throughout my stories, and some of my best lines are actually his words.
Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
My father is extremely supportive of me and always has been, but I have to say that Peter Sawfeather is very different from him. Peter is a much more emotional and heart-on-his-sleeve kind of guy. Peter is also a very hands-on kind of parent, the kind of dad that shows a kid how to do everything (if not do it for her). My dad is the kind of dad who explains how something works and then points the right direction. He has come to every show I've been in and read every book or story I've published, and even if he doesn't love it (because he likes crime thrillers and historical fiction, and I write YA urban fantasy) he still tells me all the things he liked rather than putting it down. I love the man immensely.
D. G. Driver
Oh yes, Deyva aside, most of the fathers I write have this special brand of humor that comes directly from my father. It's the sort that makes you wince, sometimes chuckle - but that just encourages him. He's very fond of puns.
Julie C. Gilbert
See my answer to Prompt 2... I had to combine them since they are one and the same answer.
J. Philip Horne
To submit send your finished and edited to the best of your ability work to email@example.com as a doc attachment. Please do not include identifying information within the document as we do intend for blind judging. Any identifiers will be deleted. I promise to keep careful track of who submitted what.
Expenses for anthology production will be split between accepted authors.
QUICK SUBMISSION RUNDOWN:
1. 500 to 10k words... for this anthology we are opening the gates to accept flash fiction length pieces.
2. Fantasy or Fantasy Subgenre.
3. Fits the chosen theme of “Cats” in some way.
4. Does not include explicit material, meets the group standards as expanded upon at our website. http://www.fellowshipoffantasy.com/submission-guidelines.html#submission
5. A complete self-contained short story, not an excerpt of a larger work.
6. Not currently available for purchase download (stories that are previously published in other publications or anthologies will be considered on a case by case basis. Please note in your submission email).
7. Submissions start 6/15/2018 and run through 7/15/2018
8. While we will allow multiple submissions per author, only one will be accepted.
Submissions 6/15/2018 and run through 7/15/2018
Rather than allowing a long period for authors to rewrite and resubmit a story, we will be doing a simple acceptance/rejection system. Some small edits may be requested if we like a story enough to want it included but have some suggestions to make it shine even more. These will be returned to the author so that they can make the adjustments so we don’t have editors messing with the author’s voice.
Proofreading (grammar, punctuation, and spelling, not line editing) will be provided by the group, but please do your best to submit a clean first draft as it is just more professional.
Proofing will lead into prelaunch, and I would like to release the anthology in September or October.
Theme: The story must feature a cat in some way.
General: The purpose of the anthology is to provide a sample of various authors’ work and allow for us to pool our audience/social media presence to draw in more readers. The anthology will be free in ebook form.
As the book will not be making a profit, there will be no royalties paid out. The purpose of this anthology is marketing, not profit.
Since we cannot put the paperback version for free, there may be a small amount of revenue garnered from that version. We will put those funds back into advertising.
We will draw up a contract that grants the anthology first publication rights with an expiration date so that you may republish the work on your own or submit it elsewhere after a four month period.
Each submission must be an original, self-contained work. Not an excerpt from a larger work (though it may be set in a world or use characters that also appear in a larger work, the story needs to read as a story, not as a “teaser” for a bigger project.).
Each work should be between 500 and 10k words. Works that are over or under by small amounts (say a couple hundred words) will be judged on a case by case basis.
Must fit the theme of “Catss” in some way, but we are open to a broad interpretation of said theme.
Must abide by the groups “low PG-13” standard in terms of violence, language, and sexual situations/innuendo (see the main site for more details http://www.fellowshipoffantasy.com/submission-guidelines.html)
The group retains the right to reject an entry due to perceived issues of quality.
Submissions can be emailed to Anthology Coordinator, Heidi Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org Please attach as a .doc file. Judging will be “blind” so remove any mention of the author name from the submission itself.
We ask that you use a legible font in at least 11 pt.
We actually want a varied tone rather than a homogenized one, so any work that fits the theme, length requirement, and content standards as listed above will be considered. Please no stories that are ONLY interesting to children, though. Stories that are appropriate for children or interesting to children are fine, but no easy reader or picture book level simplicity. Aim for at least Middle Grade content level, and try to provide something adult readers would enjoy as well.
Positions and Responsibilities:
Members will be asked to donate a small amount towards cover design, proofreading, and formatting expenses, but the team will work hard to keep this down to a low number. We’re looking at options for $30 premades for the cover, for instance. There will also be a $100 administration fee paid to Heidi Burke as the organizer of the project. The total amount depends on the length of the anthology and the number of authors splitting the prices, but for instance if proofreading turns out to be $200, formatting $75, cover design $30, and the one time fee is $100, then we have 10 participating authors, the inclusion fee will be $40, but if we have 15 participating authors (our cap) it will be $27 a piece. Also, those numbers are not set in stone (a shorter anthology means cheaper proofreading. Formatting is currently under investigation/negotiation. We are open to an author donating a completed cover design--to be approved by the group--rather than paying the fee).
Things that will be considered by the judges include whether the piece:
1. Makes sense. I know we're writing fantasy, but does the story make sense or does it just seem to be a series of disconnected events ... this could also be phrased "is it confusing." Also looking out for continuity problems.
2. Fits the theme: It in someway involves a cat.
3. Not error filled ... we do not expect "error free." Typos and mistakes are forgivable, that's why we'll have editing rounds, but it's just good to clean up your own mess, don't submit something with constant tense switching, obvious misspellings, and other errors.
4. Fits the word count range ... don't submit a 15k word monster. Don't submit a 500 word flash.
5. Actually has a story with a clear arc and resolution.
6. Actually has characters with definable characteristics.
7. Does not suffer from obvious writing "problems" like over use of passive voice, head hopping, info dumps ...
We realize that some of these can be subjective and depend on taste. We are going to arrange a system of readers to both lessen the workload for the administration and create some protection against the whole thing being “Stories Heidi Really Likes” instead of “Stories with Broad Appeal.”
Over the next week we'll be featuring some blog posts with our authors' thoughts on fathers, both real and fictional, in honor of Father's Day.
For our first feature, we're discussing our favorite fictional fathers in books they read. In our second, we're asking them about fathers they wrote.
(note post includes affiliate links to the books mentioned, in case you want to check them out)
Annie's father in my forthcoming fantasy release, Aerisian Refrain. Annie is the book's MC, and although her father is deceased when the book opens, his influence as a calm, stable, self-possessed man is stamped on Annie's consciousness and her life. He is her hero figure, and his life lessons are the driving force behind much of what Annie does or doesn't do. In many ways, he was modeled after my own father.
Devya's pseudo father if not actual biological father of each of Devya's Children. He's kind of cold and calculating, more interested in the science than the people.
Julie C. Gilbert
I love Joss' father in Joss the Seven (and Guardian Angel). He rarely shows up directly in the story, and he sometimes reacts to tough situations in ways that push against idealized fatherhood--he sometimes gets angry and overwhelmed when measured calm would serve better. But he is also loving and present for his kids, whatever the situation. And in several key scenes, his presence is felt through Joss in spite of the fact he's offscreen.
It was only in hindsight that I realized aspects of his character were part of me reflecting on and appreciating my own father. My dad passed away while I was writing Joss the Seven, and I actually experienced writer's block for many months after his death. When I was finally able to return to the manuscript, my mind was full of affection for my wonderful father, with all his strengths and flaws. I believe those thoughts spilled onto the pages of my story indirectly, but there all the same.
J. Philip Horne
I've written several fathers in my books, but the first one I wrote was King Arnaud from King's Warrior, the first book in The Minstrel's Song series. King Arnaud is a simple man. He grew up as a farmer and loved the hard-work and simplicity of his life. He never wanted to be king or have rulership of a kingdom, which is one of the things that makes him so good at it. But before his duties and job as king, Arnaud always puts his family first. He loves his wife and daughter. He is an understanding father to Princess Kamarie, understanding her headstrong nature and giving her the freedom she needs to make her own choices, always trusting that the lessons he has taught her will remain in her heart and eventually lead her true.
I wrote King Arnaud in this way because I felt that there was a dearth of good fathers (and parents in general) in fiction, and particularly in fantasy fiction. I wanted to portray a spunky, feisty princess, but I also wanted her to respect her parents, and have their respect in return. Being a princess does not come naturally to Kamarie. But because she is confident in her parents' love, she determines to master those tasks and duties that are difficult for her. And in return, her father pretends not to know about the fact that she's cajoled one of his knights into training her as a squire (and has even given his own secret permission for these lessons to continue).
Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
In Dragon's Posterity Ruskya is a dad of a 20-something son who wants to be out on his own. The two of them are very similar and struggle with doing things their own ways. The impetus behind the struggle came from having kids that same age. Often what bugs us most about our kids are our own traits. I also had him struggle with the fact that not all of his kids are dragon riders. This also comes from the pain of children walking their own path and not following the faith of their parents.
Kandi J Wyatt
In my dystopian series, 'The Infidel Books', I have two fathers that are polar opposites. Kaleb Savage is a gang lord who abuses his only son, trying to make him into an invincible, strong soldier and leader. I wrote Kaleb to show that abuse doesn't define the victim -- Kaleb's son chose different than his father, choosing family over glory and power. Kaleb goes through most of his life as a man who's only way of life is based on power and violence. And when it comes to his son, he's truly terrified of losing Nate or at the idea of Nate ever being hurt by someone else. In Kaleb's experience from his own father, abuse is just a way to ensure that Kaleb has total control and can strengthen his son in the only way he knows how. In the end, Kaleb does find Jesus and repents for all he did, but not until tragedies occur. Even then, things don't just 'get better' -- Nate isn't quick to show his love for his father, but he does eventually trust his dad again. Writing their relationship was heartbreaking to me because abuse is so very common in this world. Even though this book took place in the future, the pain isn't a fantasy.
And then, Burl Fisher, the future mayor of a small town struggling to survive in the war. Burl's family is bigger and he has kids who love him -- and kids who hate him, even after all he's done for them (raise them, love them, tried to show them the right path even if they didn't want it). Burl is not a perfect father -- he gets angry and sometimes focuses too hard on one thing. But his one goal is to protect and provide for his family, even if that means his own death. Burl tries hard to be what Jesus set an example to be -- a Light, a protector, a man after God's heart. Burl teaches his children what they need to know to survive in the harsh world but he doesn't expect perfection from them. He only tries to teach them that God will get them through. I wrote Burl Fisher the way I did to show that Godly men do still exist and they're never 'perfect'. The fathers who are selfless, and caring, and willing to fight for their loved ones... those are men after God's own heart. The men who know that while THEY will fail, God never will.
In THE BELTANE ESCAPE, I wrote Beacon, the father of Talfryn, a conflicted half Viking/half fairy, counter to the fairy stereotype. Instead of a mischievous trickster or cold court social climber, he's a loving, accepting father who fell in love with a Viking shield-maiden whose Cold Iron could kill him. THE BELTANE ESCAPE is a Young Adult Scottish medieval fantasy. I wanted teen readers to be surprised by the portrayal, but also give them a positive father figure. Even when Beacon and Talfryn are at odds, one never doubts Beacon loves his son.
Mr. Irons was a strong man who dragged his demon-possessed son to the disciples even though he had to slap him in chains to do it. (This is a Biblical retelling published in an anthology by Month9Books). He loved his son and had been over-protective prior to the possession, but seeing his son at the mercy of the demon made him realize he had been somewhat controlling, too.
Peter Sawfeather is Juniper's dad in the Juniper Sawfeather Trilogy. He is an influential environmental activist and proud American Indian. He gets a little touchy sometimes, but he has taught Juniper to care for the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. He's taught her to be strong, and he's her support when things go all wrong. Peter believes in the spirituality of his people and is often sharing the legends he's learned with Juniper and others. But when the mythical creatures from these legends turn out to be real, he does struggle to understand how this can be possible and wants to rationalize it away. Despite that, he is by her side when she's rescuing mermaids from an oil spill, camps at the base of the tree when she's trapped by the tree spirit up in its branches, and he is willing to sacrifice himself to keep her safe in the final book Echo the Cliffs.
I wanted to write a YA series where the parents are a major part of the plot, rather than absent parents, dead parents, or parents that come and go with no impact. I think you'll enjoy watching the dynamics of Juniper's family grown and change of the course of the three novels.
D. G. Driver
Spoiled for choice, here. I think I'll choose Leradan from my Become series. He had the job of raising a demi-god given the gift of superhuman strength. (The story is inspired by the legend of Hercules, but not a retelling.) He is the one who taught Gaian what will prove to be his greatest truth--and salvation. The only true purpose of strength is to defend and protect others.
Father I wrote: Fabiom - the young mc of my first Silvana novel (The Greening) has to learn what being a father means and what it can cost in The Turning, where, eventually fatherhood presents him with the choice to do one of two things both of which go against everything he is. It was also fascinating to write about a young man – Fabiom's son, Lesandor – whose father is very much alive and involved and capable. So, I guess I wrote Fabiom and his story as an exploration of ideas about parenthood.
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